ENT professionals from all over the world gathered in Istanbul to discuss how to improve access to hearing healthcare at the international conference “7th World Congress of Cochlear Implantation in Emerging Countries”. The Global CI Access Network hosted the 3-day conference between September 14 and 16 together with experts from all partner countries. Delegates presented on the key pillars of the Hearing Healthcare Alliance by giving examples of their implementation in their respective region.
The HHA is thrilled to welcome participants to our second Professional Certificate in Hearing Rehabilitation (PCHR) in Africa! After the success of the first course which finished in July, 12 new hearing healthcare professionals from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda gathered in Accra, Ghana for the first of four week-long workshops. Together, participants will develop crucial skills in the rehabilitation of children with hearing impairment through practical workshops and seminars.
Coming from across Sub-Saharan Africa, a group of rehab professionals joined the launch of a new Professional Certificate in Hearing Rehabilitation. During the orientation session held on 20 July, participants began with a Situation Analysis bringing attention to the state of the field and the importance of rehabilitation of hearing loss. Over the coming months, there will be 12 days of practical coursework including an in-person workshop in Ghana in September.
Congratulations to our partners in Tanzania for holding the first Otology Masterclass led by instructors entirely from Tanzania. Twelve participating surgeons, who all rated the training as excellent, worked through topics including audiology, speech pathology, radiology, anatomy, surgery, and case presentations. Alongside lectures from local and international experts, participants were able to get into the lab for hands-on skills training sessions where they practiced temporal bone dissection, mastoidectomies, posterior tympanotomy, myringotomy and grommet tube insertions on the bones.
The Professional Certificate in Hearing Rehabilitation (PCHR) in Kampala, Uganda keeps rehab professionals at the top of their game. Over four days in July, the HHA and MED-EL’s audiology and rehab experts worked with nine professionals from Uganda to boost their skills in this important discipline. Using video reviews of their own clinical work, the rehab professionals workshopped their techniques and approaches with their colleagues and MED-EL experts.
Together with the National Ear Care Centre Kaduna, the centre of excellence in the field of ENT in Nigeria, the HHA partnered up to kick off the first large scale new-born hearing screening program in Nigeria. In two days of screening and diagnostic training in Kaduna, followed by two further days of tracking training in Abuja, 18 ENT specialists learnt to identify infants with hearing impairment and to initiate their further treatment.
Uganda has taken a major step in the diagnosis of hearing impairment. The HHA is supporting a systematic, quality-controlled, universal new-born hearing screening pilot programme to identify infants with hearing impairment and start them on the path of treatment. Over 4 days in March, the HHA led training sessions on new-born hearing screening for ENT’s and nurses, and coached the tracking centre personnel on systems and software. This culminated in a visit to Kawempe National Referral Hospital to conduct hands-on practical screening of new-borns.
Lessons from the HHA are helping to prepare the next generation of health professionals to create new, life-changing programmes. Dr Christian Steppan gave a guest lecture to the students of the Master of Applied Health Sciences at University of Applied Sciences Krems on the worldwide benefits of public private partnerships in health sciences. Dr Steppan argued that improving the health systems of partner countries improves health outcomes for individuals in need.
Awareness of hearing impairment is a major goal of the HHA; it supports public health policy and empowers people to access care. World Hearing Day 2023 in Tanzania was another chance for the HHA to collaborate with Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam to spread the message that “ear and hearing care is for all.”
World Hearing Day in Kenya started with the launch of the “Ear and Hearing Care Strategic Plan and Guidelines 2023 – 2028.” This document sets out a plan to improve the experience of the 2.5 million people in Kenya with hearing loss. In the spirit of World Hearing Day 2023’s theme – “ear and hearing care for all” – this Plan tackles the social barriers to care as well as health infrastructure development.